PITTSFIELD — In an ever more specialized world, it is easy to forget the importance of re-integrating knowledge of parts back into a coherent bigger picture — particularly when it comes to the human body. This is what drove Dr. Andrew Puttick, founder of Greylock Audiology and FYZICAL Therapy and Balance Centers — Pittsfield, to develop a unique clinical practice aimed at helping people enjoy their lives to the fullest through better hearing, better movement and highly skilled care targeting the often neglected interplay between the two.
Hearing and balance are intricately related, and both significantly impact our daily function. Greylock Audiology and FYZICAL Therapy and Balance Centers — Pittsfield was formed to help people live life to the fullest by addressing things they can control. Dr. Puttick’s 17 years of experience as an Audiologist, specializing in disorders of the ear, have given him a deep understanding of how the complexities of the ear — and related ailments — can adversely impact the experience and enjoyment of life. It has also given him keen insight into how skilled intervention can counteract these issues.
“Working with an Ear, Nose and Throat physician earlier in my career, whenever we had patients with balance impairment or vertigo, we ended up referring out to a physical therapist in the community. The coordination of care was often challenging for patients, we were not able to be closely involved in the process, and results were mixed,” says Puttick. “By combining audiology and specialized physical therapy services in a single practice, we can more efficiently diagnose and treat a variety of balance and dizziness disorders, including vertigo.”
In many cases, if one part of the inner ear system is malfunctioning, there’s a relatively high probability that other systems will be disrupted and additional (often unpleasant) consequences will follow. Dr. Puttick has an extensive background in diagnosing and treating hearing loss, tinnitus (ringing or buzzing in the ears or head), and vertigo. All of these ‘ear-specific problems’ can have a more far-reaching impact on overall function. “Many of our patients start out with the impression that hearing impairment, ringing in the ears, or dangerously poor balance is just part of the aging process and there is no effective treatment available,” Puttick says. Yet, that is often not the case.
That is why the providers at Greylock Audiology and FYZICAL Pittsfield use highly specialized training, cutting edge technology and – most importantly - a sincere desire to help their patients reach their goals, to help them return to doing the things they love in life. They work diligently to educate patients on how many ailments attributed to ‘just getting older’ are actually not things that they ‘simply have to live with.’ On the contrary, helping people become more aware of how much they do have the ability to influence is an essential part of improving functional capacity.
So where does physical therapy factor in to all this?
Many people only associate physical therapy with orthopedic concerns, and while that is one important part of the field, PT is far more multifaceted and nuanced. Physical well-being relies on the efficient interplay of multiple body systems, and often facilitating improvement in one may necessitate investigating the seemingly unrelated contribution of other systems. In reality, especially when it comes to balance and dizziness, what may appear unrelated is anything but! Vestibular therapy is a unique clinical specialty that focuses on the complex function of the inner ear. Inner ear functional changes that may start out subtle can accumulate over time and can lead to increased fall risk and further potential injury if left unaddressed.
That is why the expertise of Dr. Trevor Marcotte, Director of Physical Therapy at Greylock Audiology and FYZICAL Pittsfield, is so valuable. He has undergone extensive specialized post-graduate training in vestibular evaluation, balance retraining therapy and vestibular rehabilitation (including the treatment of vertigo and other causes of dizziness). He is one of less than 150 physical therapists in the country to earn the level of expertise he has achieved since becoming part of the national FYZICAL family in 2017. In addition to his clinical knowledge of balance disorders, he is also trained in orthopedic spine, lower extremity (hip and knee), shoulder, post-operative, post-concussion and sports injury rehabilitation.
Dr. Marcotte’s extensive ‘toolbox’ means that he frequently gets to meet friends and family members of happy patients who go home and share their stories of success. Both he and Dr. Puttick agree that those recommendations are a tremendous compliment and especially gratifying. Their shared belief in a ‘whole person, whole body’ approach brings together not just the specialties of audiology and physical therapy, but a dedicated staff and patient community that work together every day to discover what is possible when you feel good enough to fully engage with life and the things that you care the most about. Connection is key, across the lifespan.
Inner ear dysfunction, imbalance or falls, and orthopedic problems can happen at any age, however the need for smart lifestyle choices to keep everything working as well as possible for as long as possible does increase with time. In short, the idea of ‘use it or lose it’ takes on growing importance for everyone over the age of thirty. Or, as Leon Chaitow, ND, DO more eloquently puts in the Foreward to Muscles and Meridians by Philip Beach, “Equally this growing understanding of the interconnectedness of everything helps to clarify why restriction, dysfunction, and tissue modification (resulting from pathology, overuse, misuse, abuse, or disuse) in one part of the body can produce major repercussions at a distance.”
Deep, isn’t it? We included that quote because October is Physical Therapy month and this year’s theme is “Move Well. Live Well.” We wholeheartedly embrace this sentiment, and believe it applies to the interconnectedness of the systems within an individual as well as the interconnectedness of the health care specialties that help care for the individual. Skilled expertise helps find solutions that may be elusive, especially when the answer lies hidden in the intersection of different specialties. If we can help you with a hearing, balance, dizziness or orthopedic concern, please contact us at 413-443-4800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Greylock Audiology and FYZICAL Pittsfield highly prioritize patient safety. We are happy to discuss the safety protocols for all visits, just ask! One important safety measure in place due to COVID-19 is that our office is not open to walk-in traffic, so please make sure you call rather than stop by. We are deeply grateful to all of our valued patients who have readily learned the new procedures and helped us keep our community safe during 2020. Thank you and be safe!